Check list for vision problems in children

Many children experiencing difficulties in the classroom have normal sight. The following signs or symptoms may be an indication that your child has a vision problem:

General Appearance of Eyes

  • Eyes not appearing straight
  • Excessive blinking
  • Squinting to see
  • Unnecessary eye movements
  • Frequent eye infections or persistent red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Abnormal light sensitivity


  • Avoiding close work
  • Holding book very close
  • Working with head close to the desk
  • Poor or unusual posture when reading or working at desk
  • Losing place when reading
  • Skipping words or lines when reading
  • Slow copying from the board
  • Making errors when copying
  • Writing spacing poor; trouble staying on the line
  • Poor concentration
  • Persistent head tilt
  • Frequent rubbing of eyes
  • Head movement when reading
  • Squinting to see
  • Closing or covering one eye when reading


  • Blurred vision at distance or near
  • Double vision
  • Problems keeping vision clear or slow to clear when moving focus from distance to near (blackboard to desk in the classroom)
  • Headaches
  • Itchy or burning eyes after near work

We generally recommend examinations for children at 3 and 5 years, then annually through school. Many parents are lulled into a false sense of security about their child’s vision as they know that their sight has been “checked” by the school nurses. Unfortunately this is a very simple screening test which does not assess the complex processes involved in developing a comfortable visual system. (For further information see our section on Behavioural Optometry).

Jo is our Behavioural Optometrist and is a member of the Australian College of Behavioural Optometrists (ACBO).

For more information view our Behavioural optometry page.